Florida Panthers

Former Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon parts ways with Florida Panthers

Former Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon parts ways with Florida Panthers

On Monday, the Florida Panthers announced that Dale Tallon will no longer be with the team after serving as its general manager for 10 seasons and that the search for a new GM is on.

Tallon's contract was set to expire after this season. The agreement for him to leave the organization was a mutual decision according to the Panthers.

Florida, who hasn't won a playoff series since 1996, was eliminated by the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers on Friday, dropping the best-of-5 series 3-1.

Under Tallon, the Panthers won their first two division titles since entering the NHL in 1993. In 2016, the club recorded a team-record 103-point season and finished first place in the Atlantic Division.

After missing the playoffs the previous three years ahead of 2020's 24-team postseason tournament, Tallon hired Joel Quenneville, who he won a Stanley Cup with when both were members of the Blackhawks organization in 2010, to replace Bob Boughner as head coach of the Panthers on April 8, 2019. Tallon later signed two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million contract on July 1, 2019. 

Dale was with the Blackhawks organization for 33 years as a player, broadcaster and executive. He was an assistant GM with the Hawks from 2003-05, GM from 2005-09, and senior adviser of hockey operations in 2009-10. 

Tallon hired Quenneville as head coach of the Blackhawks on October 16, 2008. Impact Hawks players Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were drafted during Tallon's Chicago GM tenure.

Dale was the first player ever drafted by the Vancouver Canucks. The defenseman was selected at No. 2 overall in the 1970 NHL Draft. 

He had 336 points (98 goals, 238 assists) in 642 games across 10 seasons with Vancouver, Chicago and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tallon played in two NHL All-Star games (1971 and 1972).

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Blackhawks have opportunity for playoff push with late-season home stretch

Blackhawks have opportunity for playoff push with late-season home stretch

Beginning on Tuesday at the United Center against the Anaheim Ducks, 11 of the Blackhawks' final 17 games of the regular season will be played on home ice. 

After winning their last two games (both on the road), the Hawks are six points out of a playoff spot, with four teams to jump.

On Thursday, Chicago beat the dominant Tampa Bay Lightning by scoring five unanswered goals in the third period. Then, they beat a decent Panthers team 3-2 with shootout heroics from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday.

RELATED: Why Toews is ‘so clutch’ in shootouts according to Kane

"I think we’ve been playing hard," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of the recent road trip. "We easily could have got a win in Dallas (1-2 loss). I thought we played really well. St. Louis game (6-5 loss), our details weren’t good enough to find a way to close that game out. 

"I think the performance was pretty good throughout the road trip. Nice that we did find a way to get the results, come home with some momentum, but now it’s up to us to continue that prior performance tonight.”

The scoring is there, Corey Crawford has been lights out, and Dominik Kubalik is being taken seriously as a Calder Trophy finalist. Those ingredients could make for the miracle run the Hawks need to get back to the postseason after missing it two straight years. Still, it will be a grueling uphill battle.

The Hawks aren't in the best position in the standings and have had trouble putting streaks together, especially at home, this season. Their record splits to 13-13-4 at the United Center and 16-15-4 on the road. 

"I think just playing [with] that road mentality we've had the last couple games here at home," Toews said of what Chicago needs to focus on in the home stretch. "I think we can think about a bunch of stretches we've had on the road where we played well, and you come home, and we're just not good enough. I think tonight's a good chance to try and change that trend.”

Toews and the rest of the team know that a lot can happen on a daily basis across the league.

"We're not out of it," Toews said. "So definitely paying attention every day."

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Coach Joel Quenneville addresses the media during his first night back in Chicago

Coach Joel Quenneville addresses the media during his first night back in Chicago

Coach Joel Quenneville has quite a legacy in Chicago. During his 10 years as Blackhawks coach, he won three Stanley Cups after a near 50 year drought. After being fired on November 6, 2018 following a five game losing streak, Coach Q is now the head coach of the Florida Panthers (27-16-5), who are third in the Atlantic Division. NBC Sports Chicago's Blackhawks Insider Charlie Roumeliotis got the chance to sit down with Coach Q for an exclusive interview upon his return to Chicago to face his former team. 

Watch Coach Q address the media ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks matchup against the Florida Panthers at the United Center.